Kenneth D. Westfall on fri 15 may 98
I realize this topic is just about exhausted, but must add my two cents
DO set a policy, whether written or not and STICK to it! This is essential
when you start out, and it will effect how your customer views your work
throughout all your years pedalling your pots, whether at crafts fairs,
galleries, studio sales, exhibitions, whatever. We have never lost an
order or sale when a customer asked for a 'quantity discount'. In fact, I
think that, because I have taken the time to explain to that person WHY it
takes just as much time to make 10 for ten customers as it takes to make 10
for one customer, WE HAVE SOLD MORE to that person! Not only have we made
the customer understand our process, but I think they gain a bit more
respect for us as business people.
I have also found that with regards to dinnerware( which is NOT Ken's
favorite thing to make), we have had no problem charging slightly higher
prices "per piece" than if we we selling bowls separately, mugs separately
and the like. Again, a little time discussing the proscess and the loss
associated with an 18 place setting dinnerware set makes the customer
appreciate and respect the process and the ware, more than asthetically.
Family discount request can be a problem...again, decide on a policy and
stick to it. We opted to discount to family only if the piece was for
their 'personal' use, not being purchased as a gift. Our philosophy behind
this was that they would have to pay full price at a department store or
gallery for the gift, and so they should be willing to pay us full price.
This has been very successful, and has not led to any hard feelings.
To wrap this up, an anecdote: last July at our best craft fair, we were
running low on pie plates, though our sales had not been up to par. A
customer approached me and asked if I had two of the pie plate she liked.
I, regrettfully, had to say that the one she held was the last in that
color. She was disappointed, but continued to look at others. Finally,
her husband approached me and asked for a discount if they bought three,
and pointed out that we really didn't have what they wanted anyway.
Sucking in my temper, I explained that we did not give quantity discounts.
He walked away and grumbled how uncooperative I was. About 10 minustes
later he returned to our booth and selected four pie plates and paid cash,
and thanked me profusely. This really puzzled me. Then to really make
this an interesting event, I received a call from his wife a week later
requesting three more. She said they were the best pie plates she had ever
used, and was really glad that we stood up to her husband! Go figure!
Just more to ponder.
Tracey L. Westfall
Pine Hill Pottery
RD#2 Box 6AA
Harrisville, WV 26362